Dog Point Vineyard
Pinot Noir 2017
Dog Point’s Pinot Noir is a head-turner because of the immense reputation they have as a Sauvignon Blanc producer. Their Pinot is not just good – it’s one of the very best in New Zealand, and truly world class. The intensive vineyard work they carry out to produce distinctive Sauvignon Blanc results in fantastically complex Pinot fruit when carried out in clay hillsides of Marlborough. And, in turn, their use of wild yeasts and long aging gives the wine a generosity and integration that provide both easy and intellectual pleasure.
Dog Point grows Pinot Noir on the clay hill slopes, and more specifically has 6 clones that were planted starting in 1983. Vines are managed so that yields are 35 hl/ha, and as with all Dog Point wines, the picking is by hand (only 5% of New Zealand fruit is hand-picked). Dog Point operates under what is called the “Biogro” program, an initiative to promote the production of premium quality wine utilizing environmentally friendly and responsible practices, details of which are further down.
Hand picked and chilled overnight prior to hand-sorting. 75% destemmed and 25% whole bunches are fermented in small stainless open top fermenters with 100% indigenous yeasts over a period of 3 weeks. After pressing, the wine is aged in French oak barrels for eighteen months (35% new), and then bottled without fining or filtration.
The 2017 harvest will be remembered as the shortest one ever (21 days) at Dog Point Vineyard, later than normal due to the abnormally late summer weather, and finishing before major rain events in mid April. It began with warm spring and summer weather resulting in good bud-burst and desirable even growth. Cool weather followed in early December with dry, and at times windy, weather mid-summer. Late February rain helped replenish the soil prior to harvest, and cooler but otherwise excellent growing conditions prevailed into the autumn. Attentive viticultural practice allowed for optimum physiological ripeness at lower sugars, resulting in impressive fruit flavors.
Deep ruby in color, with perfumed aromas of bright, violet red berry fruits. The fruit is supported by dried herb and characteristic brown spice notes and complex smokiness.
The palate consists of a dense core of juicy fruit and bold, fine grained, ripe tannins. A fresh thread of fine acidity emerges and carries the intense flavors through the palate, finishing very long. This wine has all the markings of a long lived Marlborough pinot noir.
Dog Point have farmed organically for over a decade, are now certified. From a sustainability standpoint, their major work is with turning vine pruning and mulch into organic compost for use on the property; planting cover crop to encourage beneficial insects for biological control of pests; and bringing in 2,500 sheep and 25 steers in the winter to keep weeds down and add organic matter to the soil.
Certified Organic & Sustainable. All vineyards were converted to organic farming in 2009. 2,000 sheep graze and fertilize in winter; prunings are composted and spread; 25 steer also graze the property.
Suggested Retail Price
James Suckling - "This is very convincing, complex and downright impressive pinot noir. The intense aromas of ripe-cherries and plums are framed in such intensely attractive oak spice and earthy, sous-bois complexity. The palate has regal, polished and powerful tannin and carries a vibrant core of very attractive, rich dark cherries."
Other Wines by this Producer
Dog Point's Sauvignon Blanc has become the icon in its category, a stainless steel Sauvignon Blanc that pulsates with energy, expressiveness and complexity that push the boundaries of what you may expect from Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.
Section 94 is widely regarded as the most distinctive and greatest Sauvignon Blanc being made in New Zealand today. James Healy and Ivan Sutherland were among the first to begin fermenting their Sauvignon in barrel with wild yeasts, a technique that along with the old vines they use, leads to a full-bodied wine that is less fruit-forward, more exotic, and has immense textural complexity.
Several influential voices in the wine industry believe that in time Chardonnay may prove New Zealand's single highest achievement. All three of the Dog Point wines fermented in barrel are small in production, but the Chardonnay is the smallest, and and times indeed the most dazzling.